Today, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster team, with the support of the Government of Canada and other project partners, announced its first Innovation Ecosystem Project,representing an unprecedented investment and collaboration to make Atlantic Canada one of the best places to start and grow ocean companies.
The Ocean Startup Project will increase the number of quality, market-driven, ocean-focused start-ups in the region to support the kind of transformative ocean activity that will be realized through Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. The Ocean Startup Project activities will focus on engaging with entrepreneurs in their communities and encouraging quality start-ups; identifying academic prospects with high potential for commercialization; showcasing industry issues and developing solutions with global market potential; attracting female-led, Indigenous-led and international start-ups; and awarding grants for those companies demonstrating the greatest potential.
The project brings together, for the first time, six of Atlantic Canada’s leading incubators, accelerators, and support organizations, including Genesis, Creative Destruction Lab, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance, and Springboard Atlantic as partners to deliver on the $6.8 million Ocean Startup Project. Canada’s Ocean Supercluster provided the bulk of funding at $3.9 million, with an additional $535,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as up to $2.4 million in contributions from the Atlantic Provinces and the six project partners.
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is changing the way ocean business is done. By growing the panAtlantic ecosystem, embracing collaboration, and bringing ocean industries together to develop game-changing ocean solutions, the supercluster is growing the ocean economy in a way that has never been done before.
“This new project is a clear sign that the Ocean Supercluster is growing momentum, and establishing itself as a hotbed for innovation and collaboration. With the longest coastline and the fourth largest ocean territory in the world, this project has the potential to increase the number of ocean-focused start-ups in Canada, helping companies grow and creating new, middle class jobs.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“One of our strongest economic drivers here in St. John’s and in Atlantic Canada is our ocean and marine sector. By supporting accelerator and incubation programs, I see this project helping to bridge the technology gap that has long hampered the ocean economy in areas like offshore oil and gas, shipping and seafood.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources
“The Ocean Startup Project represents an unprecedented collaboration and investment to grow more ocean companies in Atlantic Canada. This is an incredibly important part of building capacity, expanding our capabilities, and setting ourselves up for success as we embark on what we know will become a $3 trillion global ocean opportunity by 2030.”
Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster
“This panAtlantic collaboration with our neighbors in PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, aligns efforts to build the best ecosystem for ocean tech start-ups in the world. For centuries, Newfoundland and Labrador has been a leader of innovation and development in the ocean economy, which involves our world class research facilities, companies and institutions developing innovative ocean technologies and ecosystem development leaders such as Genesis. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to be a contributing partner to support Genesis and the other strong leaders involved in the Ocean Innovation Ecosystem Project.”
Minister Bernard Davis, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
“We recognize the potential for Nova Scotia in ocean technology and our $100,000 in support of the Ocean Startup Project demonstrates that. With focus and collaboration between private and public sector, start-ups and researchers, we are seeing continued growth in this sector. This project furthers our commitment to building a world-class ocean technology ecosystem, leveraging regional strengths and creating new opportunities.”
Minister Geoff Maclellan, Government of Nova Scotia
"Prince Edward Island already provides a strong support system for technology start-ups. The Ocean Startup Project will provide additional opportunities to move those technologies to commercial success.”
Minister Matthew MacKay, Government of Prince Edward Island
"This unprecedented partnership with partners from across the region lets Genesis double down on our commitment to ocean technology. We have already helped local ocean start-ups succeed with their innovations, and now Genesis is partnering to invest in more companies and accelerate their growth."
Michelle Simms, CEO, Genesis Group
"Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges are renowned for oceans-related research, and through the Springboard Network, we have the unparalleled ability to bring great research to market. The Ocean Startup Project provides a unique opportunity to connect the region’s start-up supports and fast track the development of new ocean tech ventures built upon that world-class expertise."
Daryl Genge, President and CEO, Springboard Atlantic
“This project will boost the number of ocean technology start-ups launching and growing in this region.The Innovacorp team looks forward to helping build more venture capital ready companies in this vital sector.”
Malcolm Fraser, President and CEO, Innovacorp
“With a decade of experience in creating ideal conditions for technology commercialization, the Prince Edward Island BioAlliance looks forward to working with regional partners to accelerate the quantity and quality of ocean start-ups in Atlantic Canada. Through our regional and national bioscience business incubator Emergence, we will focus on start-ups in aquaculture, fish health and nutrition, marine biotechnology, and fish waste bioconversion—working with innovators to bring their technologies to market."
Rory Francis, Executive Director, PEI BioAlliance
"Together with our regional partners, we are investing to create lasting and positive changes for Atlantic Canada's economy through ocean technology. Through this project, we will nurture homegrown ocean start-ups that have potential for high growth and encourage companies from away to set roots here within our valued innovation ecosystem."
Jeff White, CEO, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation
"This co-funded Ocean Startup Project will identify and support ocean tech start-ups that can clearly scale up to contribute to Atlantic Canada's economy. This project will funnel selected start-ups into our next CDL cohort, where our mentors can accelerate the ability and preparedness of entrepreneurs and technical founders to get ocean tech innovations to market."
Jeff Larsen, CDL-Atlantic Executive Director, Creative Destruction Lab.
St. John's, NL, February 21, 2020